Chicken Soup with Dumplings

This is no mere chicken soup with dumplings. It’s a cross between the Jewish classic dumpling soup and Italian la minestra. The dumplings are made with ricotta cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and semolina. Instead of parsley, the soup is sprinkled with fennel fronds.

A bowl of chicken soup with dumplings, topped with fennel fronds, along with red pot and bowls

This chicken soup with dumplings is where Jewish and Italian souls collide. It has the dumplings but they’re made with semolina, and rather than parsley the soup takes a sprinkling of fennel fronds. What results is a remarkably elegant soup containing light, pillowy ricotta dumplings—essentially gnocchi—floating in chicken stock. As the author says, it’s a recipe for a lazy Sunday when you have time to let the soup simmer for hours and make gnocchi by hand. And as someone who made and loved this recipe said, oh, is it worth the time!–Renee Schettler Rossi

Chicken Soup with Dumplings

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Serves 4
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  • For the ricotta dumplings
  • For the chicken soup


Make the ricotta dumplings

Mix the ricotta, eggs, and Parmigiano in a large bowl until well blended, about 1 minute.

In a separate bowl, mix together the semolina and 00 flour.

Gradually combine the flour mixture with the wet ingredients by adding a little at a time and folding gently until well mixed, about 3 minutes. Do not overwork the dough or you will end up with dumplings as heavy as lead.

Cover and refrigerate the gnocchi dough for an hour. (This makes the dough easier to roll out.)

On a lightly floured work surface, grab a small handful of dough and gently roll into ropes that are about 1/2-inch (12-mm) diameter. If the dough is a little sticky dust it with more flour, being careful not to add too much or you will lose the light fluffy texture.

Once all the dough has been rolled into ropes, cut the ropes into 1-inch (25-mm) lengths.

Bring a large pot of water to a slow simmer and add enough salt so that it tastes like the ocean, about 1/4 cup.

Using a traditional wooden gnocchi board or a fork with long tines if you don’t have one, roll each piece of dough down the board or back of the fork with your thumb, pressing gently to make an imprint. Continue until all of the gnocchi are formed, about 80 to 100 gnocchi.

Place the gnocchi in the water and cook for 30 to 90 seconds after they float to the top. They should be light and airy.

If not using right away, arrange the gnocchi in a single layer on a lightly oiled tray, making sure the gnocchi don’t touch, and cool in the refrigerator.

Assemble the soup

Heat the broth and season with salt to taste. Evenly divide the warm gnocchi among 4 bowls. Pour about 1 cup of hot broth over the gnocchi in each bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil.

Garnish with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional fennel fronds, and freshly cracked black pepper.

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    Homemade Chicken Stock Variation

    • Your favorite homemade chicken stock will work wonderfully here. But we thought you may like to see the version that this author uses. She adds the herbs only at the end of the simmering time to ensure that the stock’s predominant flavor is chicken and there’s only a slight hint of vegetal.

      Place a 5-pound chicken in a large stock pot. Cover with water so that it comes about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) above the chicken. Slowly bring it to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat, making sure to skim off and discard any foam that forms. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 4 hours, occasionally skimming the fat from the surface. (Skimming is important because it will leave you with a clearer broth.) Add 2 carrots, 2 onions, 1/2 bunch celery, 1 leek, 1/2 bunch parsley, 1 bay leaf, and 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns and gently simmer for 1 hour. Remove the chicken and strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the vegetables and herbs. (Keep the chicken—it’s tender and easy to use in another dish like chicken pot pie or chicken salad.) Makes about 6 quarts chicken stock.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This was such a comforting bowl of chicken soup and dumplings for a grey, cold day. Each element really shines and I loved how the flavor of the Parmesan was detectable in the gnocchi.

    Given the simplicity of the dish, I think it's absolutely essential to use homemade stock. I used a scant cup of broth for each serving and about 12 gnocchi per bowl. The gnocchi mixture was sticky but rolled out fine on a well-floured surface and I didn't need to add any extra flour. I got 54 gnocchi. I was bringing the water to a boil while rolling and cutting the gnocchi so they didn't have to sit for long. They took about 60 to 90 seconds to float.

    The note says this recipe is good for a lazy Sunday when you have time to let the soup simmer for hours and make the gnocchi by hand and that is true. Starting from scratch it takes a long time. But oh, is it worth that time. The chicken stock's light flavor really allows the flavors of the ricotta and Parmesan in the dumplings to come through.

    I wasn't quite sure where the working or overworking the dough line was and I was worried about having "heavy as lead" dumplings, so I did about 3 minutes start to finish and I guess that was okay because the dumplings were pretty light. I didn't measure the diameter of the ropes I rolled out (recipe calls for 1/2 inch) and my gnocchi were pretty small. Of course that meant more in the bowl, which wasn't a bad thing. Next time I might go for an inch diameter.

    It also meant I ended up with more than 100! But that was okay, too, because they were in demand and were even better tasting the day after.


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